Question about Location Analytics

Kind of a big deal

Question about Location Analytics


I've not used Wi-Fi/Blurtooth/RFID location analytics, yet.


For decades, we have done all our supermarket shopping at the same chain of (upmarket) stores. Whilst their apps are generally good and helpful, useful but not in one's face, I was quite surprised when I started receiving prompts, in store, about available products that might interest me, and discovering that mostly, I was interested. However, I realised I didn't really know where to find them and had to ask a member of the store staff. It occurred to me that it ought to be pretty simple to direct one to the product's location, which would simplify shopping enormously.


Is there much available information about how this sort of capability has been implemented? And how accurate is the user device triangulation?


Robin St.Clair | Principal, Caithness Analytics | @uberseehandel
4 Replies 4
Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

There are actually whole companies that do in store mapping solutions, like Google Maps, but for retail.  They direct you in the store how to get to what you want.  I can't remember the name at the moment, it's been about 4 years since I last looked at the solution.


BLE can be used for hyperlocation accuracy.  It really needs an App to work.  The beacon regularly transmits, and Apps on a smart device can pick this beacon up.  Every beacon has a unique ID, and as long as you know where you put it, you then pretty much know where you are.  Beacons have a short range, so you have to be close (sense the hyper-location).


I have had nothing but pain using BLE beacons.  Battery powered units don't like transmitting frequently - because it drains their battery.  So if they only "pulse" once a minute, you have to be in just the right place at just the right time.  Powered beacons can transmit multiple times a second - but you need to get power to them.


To triangulate with access points you really want a device to be seen by 4 access points.  Once you get to this stage the accuracy is within meters.  The process of location monitoring usually monitors device beacons (like when your smart device sends a beacon request looking for its home network).  When your smart device has its screen off it might only do this every 5 minutes.  So you only get a location update once every 5 minutes.  So to really make it work you need an App on the device that constantly sends a small amount of data to give the access points something to track.


So you pretty much end up with lots of access points an and App, and if you are going that far you might as well continue on and do the in-store mapping ...



Thanks for that comprehensive reply.


Supermarkets (this chain certainly) have got very good at making sure one uses a phone whilst in store. I've noticed that being in big stores (whilst not using the phone) drains my phone battery, even the equivalent of Caughey's.


Having used mobile cells (with "extra" timing info) to accurately locate handsets, I can see how BLE could be used to guide customers to shelf locations. I was surprised to see a recently arrived app on my phone that is very good at accurately tracking my path as I walk around, it would work in the supermarket too.


It is all a bit big brother, but I suspect we will have to get used to that. OBNW . . . 


Robin St.Clair | Principal, Caithness Analytics | @uberseehandel
Here to help

To get to this accuracy of detail you probably need to move on to an app that has integrated with planogram software


To get to this accuracy of detail you probably need to move on to an app that has integrated with planogram software

If the system gets me walking down the correct side of the aisle, I guess a local beacon could guide one to the exact location (like ILS taking over from ATC).


Recently I was seriously surprised by how well tailored to my tastes the suggestions were, things I was likely to buy that I hadn't noticed previously.


By way of corollary,  I was concerned that my search of academic papers resulted in my being presented with a very tailored selection of advertising from highly specialist suppliers, whilst reading the daily newspaper online. This raises IP concerns. The pharma industry is already having to address this issue. You would be amazed how much is being patented and trademarked in Buenos Aires and Astana.

Robin St.Clair | Principal, Caithness Analytics | @uberseehandel
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